Fiji’s exports to rise

Port of Suva is the most extensive and busiest container and general Port providing the maritime gateway to Fiji's capital Suva. Picture: SUPPLIED

Total exports are expected to grow in line with the anticipated improvement in domestic activity and growth in Fiji’s major trading partners in 2023.

The Westpac Wave for January 2023 states that the COVID-19 pandemic affected trade in Fiji over the past two years, as with the rest of the world.

Westpac Fiji’s senior economist Krishal Prasad said with the reopening of international borders, trade with major trading partners had gained momentum with total exports and imports rising in 2022 which resulted in a trade deficit as growth in imports was faster than growth in exports.

The senior economist said the expected recovery in international travel and growth in Pacific Island Countries should bolster re-exports over the short term.

Meanwhile total imports are also projected to increase this year.

Mr Prasad said while global commodity prices and inflationary pressures in trading partners are anticipated to moderate to some extent, the continued growth in the domestic economy and the stabilisation of prices at relatively higher levels would lead to continued expansion in imports.

Remittances have continued to support the economy over the years, more so in the past three years.

According to the Westpac Wave inward remittances totaled $842.9 million cumulative to October 2022, higher than the annual amount received in 2021, led by growth in personal transfers whereby the strong growth in personal transfers was largely driven by inflows via mobile money.

Mr Prasad said while the widening trade deficit would put some pressure on foreign reserves this year, it would be financed by increasing tourism earnings and remittances.

“As such, foreign reserves are projected to remain at comfortable levels in the medium term. Overall, Fiji’s external sector is expected to remain stable.”

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